Trixie Needs Your Help!

Hi there EOS readers, Trixie here.  This column is not about GH, but rather an issue I am having, really struggling with and I want your advice.   I grew up in a house with pets.  We had cocker spaniels early on, and then we had a mutt when I was 17.    My family and I have our own pets now, a cat that is 11 ½ years old, her name is Scotch, but we call her Kitty.  I went to Petsmart about 4 years ago to buy some cat food and I ended up adopting a mix breed German Shepherd that was about a year old.  Tess obviously had a previous owner that spent a lot of time training her, because she was very obedient right off the bat.  My best guess is that she came down with heartworms as a puppy and her previous owners could not afford the treatment and she was sent to pet rescue (when  we adopted her she had just finished up the heartworms treatment).   My cousin bought a miniature applehead Chihuahua and later was unable to care for the puppy.  I offered to take him in, based on him getting along with my 125lb baby Tess.  Yogi and Tess get along great, Tess lives primarily in our fenced in back yard and Yogi being all of 3lbs fully grown is an inside dog.   I don’t know if you remember from my first article, but I have two children.  I have a 7 year old son and a 2 year old daughter.  My son has been great with the puppy.  My daughter has to be watched like a hawk.  Speaking of hawks, I am on “hawk patrol” when I take this little guy outside.  I have learned from my internet research that Chihuahuas are hawk prey.   Since this weekend was a long holiday weekend,   I decided we would really concentrate on the housebreaking issue.   Because of Yogi’s small size and the fact that we are not home for 8 hours a day during the week, I have chosen crate training for this dog.   In an effort to teach my son some pet ownership responsibility, I started having him take the dog out to go potty.  This was working great until my son decided to have a GI Joe mission while on duty.  He started rough-housing in the backyard and stepped on the puppy’s leg.   I was in the kitchen and heard my son screaming, I raced outside and Taylor was hysterical.  I picked up Yogi and tried to calm Taylor down.  Yogi’s leg was most definitely broken.  I called my husband to get his ETA and he was 15 mins out.  I wrapped Yogi in a towel to secure the leg and waited for my husband.  Once he arrived home he drove us to the Animal ER and dropped me off.  Yogi’s left front leg was broken.  Both bones.  5 hours later, I was sent home with a 3 lb baby wearing a splint and medi-collar.   All weekend I have been caring for Yogi, it has been very reminiscent of the first week home from the hospital with a newborn.   Yogi will require surgery to repair the leg.  I called the UGA Veterinary Hospital and they charge between $1500 and $2000 dollars.  I called a regular vet and he wants about half.   After some serious re-working I have been able to come up with the money to have the surgery.  My husband is taking him to the vet this morning and the surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.  Here comes my dilemma.   I love this dog.  I have only had him a week, but I am an animal person and I am attached.  My children love this dog.  My son has felt terrible all weekend.   I truly believe that he understands that although Yogi’s broken leg was an accident, it was still Taylor’s fault.  He understands his part in the accident.   It has not been difficult to keep the two year old away from Yogi.  This happened early Friday evening and Saturday Yogi was very sore and out of it from the pain meds, so he spent the majority of the day on me.  He is sleeping in the crate, which is new for him because he is used to sleeping in the bed with me, however I cannot take the chance of him trying to jump from the bed or furniture for that matter.  He is either with/on me or in his crate.  It has to be that way until his leg has healed.   My question to you is: 

1. Can this dog survive in a house with a 7 year old and a 2 year old?   Am I being selfish in wanting to keep this dog that I have grown so attached to? 

I have thought about this all weekend.  I love this dog, but reality is I cannot afford broken leg surgeries constantly.  Also- that is not fair to Yogi.   I have gone back and forth on this one.  My husband says: “We have only had this dog a week and he already has a broken leg and Taylor did it., my money would have been on Sarah (the 2 year old)”. “You need to think long and hard on whether this dog can survive in a household with two small children.” 

 My thought is, yes we have only had the puppy for a week.  The first 3 or 4 days the two year old woke up saying puppy, went to bed saying puppy and was constantly trying to hold the puppy.  That has started tapering off, because one we scold her and tell her not to bother the puppy, and two the “newness” of the puppy has worn off somewhat.   I believe that both the puppy and two year old can be taught to co-habitate in the same household, with at first, a lot of work on mine and my husbands part teaching her not to pick-up the puppy and not to try and “restrain” the puppy.  My son, other than the obvious leg breaking incident has really been gentle and very good with the puppy. 

Am I crazy?    Should I try and find a home for Yogi?     I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. 


A Yogi Update

First let me say thank you to all of you who have sent me an email with your best advice.

I just wanted to let you know that Yogi had surgery on Tuesday, and the Vet placed plates on both of the bones in his front leg.   We are crossing our fingers that there is not nerve damage, and hopefully we will have our answer very soon.   Benjamin Franklin (Yogi’s new nick-name) will be able to come home from the Vets tomorrow if everything looks as well as it does today.   He will go back in 10 days to have the stitches removed and he will need bandage changes every 12-14 days.  In about 6 weeks the Doctor will x-ray his leg to see if it has healed.  If it has healed, Yogi will have a second surgery to remove the plates.   Because of his small size, and the fact that metal retracts in the cold, the plates cannot stay in the leg.   He will be re-splinted and once that heals he should recover 100%. 

I have agonized over what decision is best for Yogi.   My husband and I have discussed it at great length and we have decided to try and make it work.   I grew up with animals.  We never had a period where there wasn’t something with four legs running around our house.   I know that a couple of my readers think that pets and children do not mix, but I wholeheartedly disagree.   Having animals around teaches children so much.   I can’t imagine coming home from school and not having that tri colored cocker spaniel howling and wagging her tail at the door (and she would even tinkle all over the floor she was so overwhelmed with excitement, she did this everytime any family member came home from puppy to senior!).   I love animals, I always have.  I can admit honestly that I am more of a dog person than a cat person, but 11 ½ years ago when I went outside to get the mail and saw this tiny kitten curled up in my flower pot on my front porch, I stopped to pet her instead of shoo-ing her away.  I discovered she was very sick and very tiny.  I checked with all my neighbors and could not find an owner.  She had multiple sores on her tongue and could not eat, nor clean herself.   I took her straight to the vet, discovered she had probably gotten into some sort of poison, and paid without hesitation to have her fixed up.   11 ½ years later Kitty is still on my front porch (or in my closet depending on her mood).   Animals can add so much to a household, but they come with definite responsibilities.   Yogi’s surgery is costing a small fortune, but I did not hesitate in having it done.    I would have made sure that leg was properly cared for even if it meant turning him over to a rescue group, as heartbreaking as a decision like that can be, it is still a direct indicator of an owner putting the pets needs first.    

I completely realize how Yogi’s size is a definite concern and will dictate extra precautionary measures my home will need to consider, however I believe we can provide him with a happy, healthy environment that is jam packed full of love.   I don’t know if I am trying to over-rationalize my decision, but I believe that any puppy be it a Chihuahua or Great Dane, would have suffered a broken leg from roughhousing with a 7 year old.   

Thanks for all of you who took the time to write me with advice.  I read every single response and considered your points.    If you would like I will update you with Yogi’s progress.


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